How to get reviews for your novel #amwriting


This month’s question for our authors’ Round Robin was suggested by Victoria Chatham, and it’s another excellent topic…

round robin, helena fairfax

“Love ’em or hate ’em, reviews help sell books – but how to get them?”

I’m so glad this question has come up this month, because I’d love to know the answer myself! I’m looking forward to hearing what the other authors have to say on the subject, and to picking up some tips. (If you’d like to find out too, please see the links below.)

I have some lovely reviews (and a couple of stinkers :) ) but I’d love to have more reviews for my books, both on Goodreads and on Amazon. When I had my first book published I had no idea how vital it was to get lots of reviews – even while the book is still on pre-order – in order to build up a buzz.

I’ve learned that it’s well worthwhile making your book available in print as well as eformat – and not just because some reviewers will only review print books. I’ve now learned that reviewers can’t leave a review for an e-book when it’s on pre-order on Amazon. They have to wait until the e-book has actually been released before they can review it. BUT reviewers can leave a review for an e-book on pre-order if it’s also available in print. I wish I’d known this strange quirk of Amazon before I released my last book, as I had lots of people offering to review it in the run up to release. By the time the release date came, I was in the awkward situation of having to remind them, so in that self-effacing British way I just didn’t ask.

books, book reviews, reviewers, romance
Image courtesy of Pixabay

My next novel, Felicity at the Cross Hotel, will be available on pre-order in June this year. As a self-publisher, I can’t afford to list my book on Netgalley, so all I can do is ask as many reviewers as I can if they would be interested in a review copy. I will start with reviewers who have already reviewed my previous books, who have enjoyed them, and who might like an advance copy. I’m an avid reader of romance/ women’s fiction, as well as a writer, and I follow a lot of book bloggers who I know review my genre. (I write contemporary romance, and so it’s pointless contacting reviewers who only read horror – as well as being a waste of their time.)

Here are some more steps I could take:

  • ask some of the members of my Facebook book clubs if they’d like a review copy.
  • contact book bloggers and reviewers who I still haven’t worked with. There are literally thousands of book reviewers around the world. I have built up a list on Twitter of book-bloggers/reviewers . (If you’re an author, feel free to subscribe to it.)
  • I send out an occasional newsletter. (New subscribers receive a free copy of my novella Palace of Deception, and you can subscribe here ) I plan to ask my newsletter subscribers if they would like an advance copy of Felicity at the Cross Hotel for review. Lots of readers love the opportunity to read a book before publication date – and if readers are continuing to subscribe to my newsletter, hopefully it’s because they like my books, and would be happy to have a copy.
  • when I format my book for release, I plan to add a paragraph on the last page, asking readers to leave a review, with a link to Amazon and Goodreads.

One of the romance blogs I follow is A Reader’s Review. I once wrote a post for Caroline and Tina (the bloggers at the site) on just how useful I find it as a romance reader that there are bloggers who will take the time to read and review romance novels. I find book blogs are one of the few places romance is reviewed and taken seriously, and I’ve discovered many great reads by following sites like these. (You can read my post here.)

Reviews are also vital for authors, of course, and it doesn’t matter whether our reviews come from a book review site, or from readers taking the time to review on Amazon or Goodreads. Even just a star rating and a few lines is helpful. And it’s not just independent self-published authors who are eager to get reviews. Even though I’m not a book blogger, I’ve often had emails from big publishers asking if I’ll review their new releases. I’ve even been sent hardback copies in the post.

So, reviews are important to all authors, whether just starting out or already established.

And now I’m going to follow the links to find out what advice the other authors have on this subject!

* * *

Do you ever take the time to leave reviews on Amazon or Goodreads? If you’re an author, how do you go about getting reviews for your books? If you have any tips – or any comments at all – I’d love to hear from you!

Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Dr. Bob Rich https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/how-to-get-reviews
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com




23 thoughts on “How to get reviews for your novel #amwriting

    1. Thanks very much, Anne. I’m glad you found the post useful. It’s very time-consuming asking for reviews. If only we had our own PR people! Thanks very much for dropping in, and for taking the time to comment.


  1. Thanks Helen. I shall subscribe to your Twitter list. Most interesting and useful. You seem to be doing very well finding reviewers though! My particular problem at present is getting UK reviews for my Audiobook as few reviewers seem to specialise in this format. Your point about the time consuming nature of finding reviewers is a good one.


    1. Hi Linda, I have an audiobook out, but I hadn’t thought of asking for reviews for it. This is an audio version of a book I have with a publisher, and they sold on the audio rights to Oakhill. I’m not sure how I would go about offering a copy to reviewers without having to buy my own copy, which would work out very expensive!
      That’s a very interesting comment about getting reviews for audiobooks, though. They are becoming more and more popular, and I do know of at least one American YA book blogger who regularly reviews them. (http://cleareyesfullshelves.com/)
      If anyone else has any comments/suggestions on getting audio book reviews, please let us know!


    2. Hi Linda, I review 99% of what I read (approx. 150 books/yr) and I’ve recently started reviewing audio books. I listen to approx. 3/mo. Though I am not in the UK, I would be happy to give your book a listen and review it. I review on Amazon, Goodreads, my FB pages, and others. Here is my Amazon link if you want to read some I’ve done. https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/amzn1.account.AGQNED7CO3NDWU3QFZKJ5X7ROD5Q?ie=UTF8&ref_=pd_hud_ysc_pf

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As an author, I know the importance of reviews, and so I review every book I read — with one exception — if I dislike the book (i.e. rating of 1 or 2), I won’t review or rate it. I believe reading is subjective, and just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s a terrible book.
    Trying to get reviews. I’ve tried various things. There is no sure-fire method, and as you know, sending out review copies can get very expensive. I am much more selective now as to who I send copies to. Thanks for the great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great that you review every book, Judy. I’ve started to leave reviews far more often, now that I realise what a difference it makes to the author.
      I’m also selective about who I send review copies to. I sent out copies of my first book to anyone who requested it, and now I see it on pirate sites time and time again :(
      Thanks so much for dropping in, and for your great comment!


      1. The one that really stung was I did a giveaway on a popular blog. The guy who won said he was all exited — originally from Canada, now in Arizona. That signed copy was on Amazon.com the day he received it. I sent him a rather scathing email, and he withdrew it and apologized. But it made me realize not everyone really wants to read the book! As for the blog host, she has boycotted him from entering any more of her giveaways.


    2. Oh no, I can’t believe someone did that, Judy! It’s so soul-destroying when we go to so much time and trouble to provide entertaining blog posts (for free) – let alone the many months spent actually writing the book – and people just take advantage. I’m certainly more reluctant to give books away as prizes these days, which is very sad, as most people are genuine readers and enter competitions in good faith. It’s a case of the behaviour of the few ruining it for the majority.
      Sorry this happened to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A couple of thoughts – if you link your Twitter to your post so that it is easier to share more people will see it – otherwise a share on Twitter just says via @Wordpress.com . As a blogger, I need at least 6 weeks notice to be able to consider fitting in a book for review as I’m so snowed under.xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for that Twitter tip, Linda. That’s very useful to know!
      I do try to bear in mind that many bloggers can’t fit books in immediately. That’s why it’s so handy to be able to have a book on pre-order – and for reviewers to be able to leave a review before the book is released. That way, each reviewer can review in line with their own schedule, and hopefully all reviews will be up on or around release date.
      That’s the theory, anyway!
      Thanks for dropping in, and for your handy comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s interesting that you read the reviews, Skye. I forgot to ask that question in my post – whether people actually read the reviews before buying a book. I do read reviews, too, usually, but I generally make my mind up by looking inside the book before I purchase it.
      And I also look at the 3 star reviews – but I’m always disappointed when I receive one :)
      Thanks so much for dropping in, and for your comment!


  4. I too knew v little about getting reviews, and not having a pre-order period or a paperback (initially) was a disadvantage. but got loads of reviews from book bloggers, which was wonderful. Next time I hope to be more organised! V nice looking site by the way :)


    1. Hi Jennie, thanks very much for dropping in. I only revamped my site last month, so I’m so pleased you think it looks good!
      I hope to be more organised with my next release, too. It doesn’t always work out that way, though…! :)
      Thanks for your lovely comment!


  5. Great post, Helena. I didn’t realize that you needed to have a print book to get advance reviews. Very informative about your process of getting reviews and your timeline for your new book. I looked at it and the time and effort and wondered if the final results were worth it. Good luck on the new book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Beverley, I agree about the effort involved. I do know some promo sites won’t accept your book unless it has a certain number of 4 and 5 star reviews, and I know some readers have bought my books because of the good reviews people have posted. Personally I think it’s worth it, but I was very interested to read your views on your post. It’s made me question how much time to devote to this. Thanks very much for dropping in, and for your interesting comment.


  6. I absolutely do take the time to leave reviews. As an author myself, I know how important they are. Generally, I won’t post anything below a 3 star review. Only with this latest review team I’m on have I if the author requests that I do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I leave reviews too, wildchild, but the comments on this post have made me realise I need to keep up to this more often. I have a couple of reviews to post today. Like you, I only post them if I enjoyed the book. In fact, I only post if it’s a 4 or 5 star.
      Thanks very much for dropping in and for taking the time to comment!


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